Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fax machine commercialized

However, it is a far cry from merely demonstrating a device at an exhibition to making it into a commercial success. The honor of designing the first fax service in actual use goes to Giovanni Caselli, an Italian abbot, born in Siena in 1815, who turned his hand to science and was, by 1849, editing a scientific magazine. In 1856 he claimed that he had developed a device, which he called a "pantelegraph," that could send facsimiles of images and text.Caselli received enthusiastic support from the French emperor, Napoleon III, who personally visited Caselli's workshop in 1860. He ensured that Caselli had access to the telegraph lines he needed, and a commercial fax service was inaugurated in Paris in 1865. It transmitted pictures and text between major French cities for some five years. A Pantelegraph Society was also founded in order to promote the new invention, which attracted extensive and enthusiastic press coverage at the time. When Caselli succeeded in opening a regularly working fax connection between Paris and Lyons, he was awarded the Cross of the Legion of Honor by Napoleon III. There still exist fully legible copies of letters sent by facsimile during this period, and a few contemporary facsimile machines are displayed in French museums.After Caselli's fax service achieved worldwide renown in the 1860s, he was invited by King Victor Emmanuel of Italy to demonstrate the fax machine at a world exhibition in Turin. He also made successful experimental fax transmissions between London and Manchester, and a company was founded to start regular services. However, it was swept away by the bank crisis of 1864

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